Book Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong

omenskaSynopsis: Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. At twenty-four she can boast of wealthy parents, an ivy league education, and a handsome fiance with political ambitions… at least until she finds out she was adopted. When Olivia discovers that her birth parents are notorious serial killers, she decides to find out the truth about the Larsons. Meeting up with her mother’s former lawyer, Olivia starts to investigate what really happened and finds herself drawing on abilities that make her both a valuable asset and vulnerable to her enemies. The dark secrets lurk in the shadows have their own plans for Olivia.

Continue reading “Book Review: Omens by Kelley Armstrong”

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Book Review: Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

* This is an overview review of the Women of the Otherworld Series, not just one book*

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Synopsis: The series began with Bitten in 2001 and  continued for thirteen novels, introducing other supernatural characters –witches, ghosts, necromancers, half-demons.  The books spin off to the stories of these other characters, all within this fantasy world and usually connected in some way. Past characters continued to appear in guest roles and often returned to narrate new novels or short fiction. After Thirteen, the final novel, the series continued with short fiction and novellas until 2016.

Continue reading “Book Review: Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong”

BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY

As anyone who has been following my blog for at least the past couple of months, you will have seen my six part series based on an appearance Kelley Armstrong made at my local library. I took notes for most of the event just so I could share all I learned with you!

I was really lucky and was given this adorable tote bag signed by KA featuring the covers of the Cainsville books —the first novel of which, Omens, came out this past summer. I now use it for whenever I need to take my books back to the library, so it worked out well!

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KA also signed everyone’s books… as many as we brought! This made me regret only bringing two books *LOL* Apparently there is normally a two-book limit as KA’s audience tends to be quite large, but for any smaller groups she will sign as many as her fans have brought with them.

BUT there was something else I got signed with all of you in mind… KA had some bookmarks available for whomever wished them and I snagged a couple. So now I am going to hold a giveaway for the signed KA bookmark depicting a werewolf from the upcoming novella Brazen. When discussing the cover art for this story the designer jokingly suggested the character be wearing a Team Jacob shirt and KA said “Sure!” It is not the cover, but it did become the bookmark!

Along with this lovely signed artwork, there will also be a Darkest Powers bookmark featuring cartoon characters from the novel, plus two other bookmarks I received from other authors: Amarok by Angela J Townsend and Perfection by JL Spelbring.

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This contest is open to followers in Canada or the USA. In order to enter you must leave a comment on this post about why you love Kelley Armstrong books. If you also add in your comment the link(s) of  your tweet and/or facebook post about this contest,  you’ll get a bonus entry.

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All of your names will go in this lovely… okay, rather battered faux top hat (Don’t ask, it was part of a bridal shower game). The winner’s name will be pulled by whomever happens to be visiting me on my birthday, which is Friday December 20th and will be announced the following day.

You have just five days to enter… and go!

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Six

A couple of months ago my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you. This is a continuation of the Questions and Answer segment where all of us fangirls pestered Kelley Armstrong about all the things we wanted to know. 

Pics 006Even though this event was supposed to introduce KA’s new Cainsville series, I think there was only one question about it. The girl was asking if there was any tie-in to KA’s other books in this new series (considering you could really see a connection between the Otherworld series with the Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies). She said yes and no; there were fun mentions that had absolutely no significance that would give her old readers an “in joke” but not affect the story. Things like a character having a name pulled from two from another book, etc.

KA was asked if any of her main characters were like her, and she said that all of her main characters had something in common that acted as a conduit for her to latch on to. Elena, the werewolf in Bitten, was of a similar age and grew up in Ontario. From The Summoning, Chloe’s last name is the same as KA’s high school, and she also has a stutter. Chloe’s friend Simon has juvenile diabetes like KA’s son (though the two boys are not similar in any other way).

That’s when I really lucked out and was chosen to ask my question…

See, I had gone to Word on the Street whenever I could while living in Toronto, and just around the time that The Gathering came out KA said that she was signed on to do third trilogy of this YA world. But during her talk she had mentioned that she wrapped up all her old series and needed to start something new. I was expecting and looking forward to three more books, and just had to know what KA meant. Did she already write them and they were awaiting publication or did they get canceled or what exactly?

When asked, KA said that it was true, but there was one small problem… She had planned from the start that the second trilogy, Darkest Powers, would focus on a second project, and had intended to do a third either the two groups meeting up or perhaps be about a third project.

Except when the second trilogy came out there was an uproar by some of the readers (more specifically American teens rather than older readers or Canadians) who were unhappy with the new project and new main characters, and refused to read her books until KA brought back Chloe.

After discussing it with the publisher, they agreed to hold off on the third trilogy and for KA to focus on something new. While she could have done some random adventures of either of the groups, KA didn’t really want to as she would much rather be able to write a cohesive trilogy. Now she is going to wait for the characters of that series to get a little more mature (and maybe older?) before possibly going back to them.

However, KA did tell us that she will have a novella around Chloe that will be posted on her website as she writes it sometime next year. It will stay up for a couple of months before being taken down, edited, and formatted for sales. So keep an eye out for it and other works on her website to get ‘em not only in advance but for free!

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Five

Just over a month ago my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you. This is a continuation of the Questions and Answer segment where all of us fangirls pestered Kelley Armstrong about all the things we wanted to know. 

michelleAs had been mentioned, Bitten was being turned into a TV show and KA was asked if she was in it or if she would ever be in it. The answer was an unequivocal “NO!” KA would much rather be at home in her jammies while writing, than be on TV. Maybe be an author in her jammies writing before getting killed, but even that would be terrifying.

She was also asked if she had any say in what her graphic novel characters looked like or the actors for the TV show. KA does have a say in her graphic novels because the artist tries to go on KA’s descriptions though it is a “painful process” because she has trouble describing what she wants them to look like. In the end they are either spot on or extremely close.

For the TV show most of the actors look nothing like the characters. KA doesn’t mind that because she’d rather have good actors that don’t look right rather than lousy actors who appear identical. She said there was an attempt for Elena’s role as the actress cast was a slender blond, stating it was Supergirl from Smallville, Laura Vandervoort.

If you’re familiar with the Otherworld series, you know Cassandra the very grumpy vampire, and someone asked if she would have her own story. KA had always planned to write something, but eventually felt because there are so many other vampire stories that she really didn’t have anything new she could add to the genre. Now there won’t be a novel about Cassandra, but a novella is possible.

She was also asked if she planned to write further about the Russian Pack mentioned on the Otherworld books, and KA would love to… but she wants to go to Russia first. KA went to Vancouver Island to write the Darkness Rising books as it helps set the scenery and give it depth. KA wants to do the same with the Russian Pack storyline, but has to wait until her children are older before she can go.

There was also a question about the Darkest Powers books, when had KA decided that Chloe would end up with Derek rather than Simon? The answer was “I didn’t, Chloe did!” KA had every intention of Chloe dating Simon. “I have my own daughter and Simon is such a nice guy,” she said and stated that he is what a mother would want for her daughter.  “He’s the perfect boyfriend, but Chloe disagreed.” The reason why Chloe ended up with Derek is because he challenges her more, and Simon didn’t push her to be better.

There was another question about the series, a young wannabe author who had an idea for a story along the YA line and inquired if KA ever thought of having a character who found out about his or her powers on their own and struggled to deal with it alone. KA said it was another option for the third trilogy of her YA Otherworld book series  as it wouldn’t be repetitive due to both Chloe and Mia having other friends who all went through their experience together. “It would add a lot of conflict and that makes a more interesting plotline.”

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Meeting Kelley Armstrong: Part Four

A few weeks back my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you.

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After reading a bit from one of her books, KA opened the floor up for questions. She brought “bribes” of books and tote bags to hand out so we would ask questions, but I don’t think she needed to worry because nearly everyone had a question! There were still more to be asked even after all the so-called bribes were handed out…one of which I got!

The first person asked about what sort of education a writer would need. To which KA answered “Nothing”. You should take a course for a job you will enjoy working while you try to get published, and once you’re published she recommends taking classes for fun. KA has a background in psychology, which helps her when writing her characters, but she has also taken marketing, fencing, aikido, bartending (“because you never know when one of your characters will need to know how to mix drinks!”) and plans to take a course on the history of crime.

KA’s advice to writers is to just write. “If you want to write, write. Most of us can find time to write a little every day… two pages, one page. Be constantly writing something, don’t wait until you feel ready to write.” She mentioned a lot of people tell her they want to write a book, but when she questions them about it they are still in the planning stages and had been for a good ten years! That is when she started talking about NaNoWriMo, and how great it is for all writers –both the wannabes and already established.

One person wanted to know if KA writes each book one after the other or has to write some at the same time, and if so how does KA keep her stories straight? She said she was ahead of schedule so she never has to write two different books at once (though no mention of prior), though she will be editing one book while writing another. She is lucky in that she always gets to write her first draft from start to finish without worrying about another book. It would be “hard to get back into the headspace” if she had to alternate or switch from one to another based on when the books are due at the publishers by.

This was followed by an inquiry of what to do when you get writer’s block. KA started with saying she was going to give us Melissa Marr’s answer told a while back. KA thought it was a much better answer and decided that she could use it from then on since Melissa already put it out there.

When Melissa Marr gets writers block she will fill up her bathtub, grab a snorkel, and sink under the water. This causes sensory deprivation –no sight, sound, smell, nothing. You have no choice but to think about your book and can do so without any outside stimuli and distraction. “If anyone tries this, the snorkel is very important!”

KA will never sit down at her desk if she doesn’t have a scene worked out and ready to be written because “a blank screen is intimidating”. She will walk the dog, fold laundry, or if she’s desperate she will even wash dishes by hand. Mindless chores gives KA a feeling of accomplishment while she works out where she wants her story to go or how she wants the story to get from point A to point B but needs to work out how to do that.

The other thing that can cause writer’s block is a lack of confidence, and even KA gets like that sometimes. Like everyone else, after reading a great book, you think you can never write anything like that. But all KA needs to think about is Ernest Hemingway’s quote:  The first draft of anything is…crap (KA’s rephrasing because Hemingway did not use “crap”) and she knows she’ll be okay because no one has to see your draft until you’re ready to show it. If you end up cutting a scene because it is not fixable, chalk it up to writing practice and move on, but “you cannot fix a blank page.”

Of course this led to KA being asked who her favourite author’s are, and the main one is Stephen King. She then told an anecdote about how there wasn’t really a YA section at her library when she was growing up, just one little turning case (totally blanking on what it’s called), so KA headed straight for the adult fantasy section.

She was then asked if there were any books she read over and over again, like we all read her books repeatedly. KA said her picks were Watership Down, Pride and Prejudice, and she is now rereading Stephen King’s The Last Stand. “Even though you know what is going to happen you can enjoy the experience again, hang out with the characters again.”

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Teaser Tuesday (Nov-3)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Sure, she was smart-mouthed and resentful, but what did I expect? The kid had been raised by dust bunnies.

…he’d only laugh and tell me that, given the choice between the words of the world’s greatest fictional detective and some dead Greek philosopher, a cop was going with Mr Holmes every time.

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